Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pivoting on This Week's #caedchat Topic

I really can’t say, I guess I laugh to keep from cryin
So much goin on, people killin people dyin
But I won’t dwell on that, I think I’ll elevate my mental
Q-Tip on Steve Biko from Midnight Marauders, released November 1993

For me, there’s A Tribe Called Quest, then everyone else. There isn’t a conversation about my favorite rap group. It’s them. There isn’t a close second.

As a white male who was fourteen and living in Wisconsin when Midnight Marauders came out, there is a lot I can’t understand about what it was like to be a young black man in New York City in the early 1990s. I can only listen. And appreciate.

I certainly don’t begrudge Q-Tip his choice to elevate his mental and focus on his music and positive things going on around him.


I am hosting #caedchat this week. A long time ago - January? Late 2015? - I came across a really interesting article on the importance of open networks for success in life and work. It’s good. Thought provoking. The questions are ready to go - I wrote them already. It’d be a good conversation. We’ll have it. At some point. Not this week.


Alton Sterling.

Philando Castile.


Earlier this week, we lost a great humanitarian in Elie Wiesel. As I was going through my timeline late last night, I came across a quote of his that someone (sorry, I don’t remember who) tweeted in the aftermath of the second videotaped shooting of a black man by police officers in as many days: "We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

And as I read that quote, I knew that we can’t talk about open networks on #caedchat this week. As my mind churned, my thoughts turned to Q-Tip’s verse. It was written in a completely different context - a young black man in New York City in the 1990s can be completely right to choose focus on the positive. This week though I can’t ‘not dwell on that and elevate my mental.’

Educators - disproportionately white - often choose not to dwell on the negative, including (and importantly) the systematic oppression that impacts so many of our students. We choose to elevate our mind by focusing on the happy things. And while there is a time and a place for that, at some point that neutrality has to end. For all our students’ sake.

I don’t know what we’re talking about on #caedchat this week. But it won’t be open networks.